The next time some British politician talks about how awful Guantanamo Bay is, it is time to remind him of some scenes depicted in the movie Exodus
, about the British military detention camps set up on Cyprus after WW II to hold Jewish refugees caught trying to go to Palestine. As long as they are decrying good conditions, let us remind them about really harsh ones
The Decision to Detain Jews in Cyprus
Transshipment and detention camps on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, in which the British authorities held Jewish "illegal" immigrants, most of them European survivors of the Holocaust
trying to enter Palestine.
On August 7, 1946, the British government made a decision to detain these Jews in Cyprus, hoping that this deterrent would put an end to Jewish illegal immigration. The decision was geared to the British policy of breaking the power of the "Hebrew resistance movement" in Palestine. But before long, the British came to realize that detention was not achieving the desired aim; the would — be immigrants continued their attempts to reach Palestine despite violent clashes with British troops and transshipment to Cyprus. The use of the Cyprus detention camps
began on August 13, 1946, and ended on February 10, 1949, when the last group of detainees left for what had become the state of Israel
. During this period, fifty two thousand Jews passed through the Cyprus camps, having been taken off thirty — nine boats in their attempts to get to Palestine. To this number must be added twenty — two hundred children who were born in the camps. Some detainees spent only a few months in Cyprus, but many were held there for a year or longer.
Jack Kemp (not the politician) 10 26 06